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The Facts About Jewelry Allergies

Updated on April 9, 2011

You got 10K white gold ring, but wearing it makes your finger itch after prolonged wear. You wear another ring which is 12K yellow gold, and it's just fine. Why?

Many people develop contact dermatitis when her skin comes in contact with some types of jewelry. The dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by an irritating substance which often the result of individuals with an allergy to nickel or other metals. Many people are allergic to nickel, and it is very common. People may notice for skin rash, itching and maybe swelling at the site of the jewelry.

Nickel allergies usually found more in women with up to one in five women being affected. Normally, yellow gold will not likely lead to an allergic. However white gold may. White gold is gold alloyed with nickel which has potentially high nickel content.

What types of jewelry metals did not contain nickel?

Solid gold, stainless steel, or 925 sterling silver jewelry contains no nickel. As for gold, there are different levels of purity found in gold jewelry.

(a) 24-karat gold is the purest gold. Of course the most expensive but soft and easily damaged. (b) 18-karat gold is 75% pure and alloyed with 25% of a different metal, to make it harder and more durable. It is a common material in fine jewelry.

(c) 14-karat gold is over half-pure (nearly 60%) and 10-karat gold is only 40% pure but cheaper.

Yellow gold is a mixture of gold, silver and copper. White gold contains nickel, copper and zinc but no silver. 14 karat or more yellow gold should be safe and cause no nickel allergy.

925 sterling silver jewelry consists of 92.5% silver and the remaining portion is of other metals. Make sure that it is nickel free before buy. Sterling silver is recommended for well-established earlobe piercing.

Other alternatives are platinum and titanium jewelry. Platinum is extremely rare and usually more expensive due to this limited supply. Titanium has little or no shine and can not be engraved and will bend easy.

Useful tips for you:

- Look for jewelry with a "nickel-free" label and hypoallergenic jewelry to avoid most types of allergic reactions to jewelry

- Creating a barrier between you and the nickel jewelry. For example for gold rings, coat the inside with clear nail polish, about three coats.

- Test your jewelry to see if they contain nickel. Get nickels testing kit to test your jewelry and other items. You can order a Nickel detection test kit to test jewelry before you wear them, including jeans buttons, and eyeglass frames.


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